Alcohol – The Facts

08 January 2020

Our new survey shows a quarter of drinkers in Yorkshire exceed the government’s weekly recommended alcohol limit every week.

6 in 10 people in Yorkshire have no idea what the limit is. 

Any amount of alcohol increases the risk of cancer and other long-term health problems, and the risk of cancer increases in line with the amount of alcohol consumed.

We want people in our region to know the facts so they can make an informed decision about how much they drink.

The guidelines

The government’s Chief Medical Officers’ guideline for both men and women is that:

• You are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level
• If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over 3 days or more. If you have one or two heavy drinking sessions, you increase your risks of death from long term illnesses and from accidents and injuries.
• The risk of developing a range of illnesses (including, for example, cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases with any amount you drink on a regular basis
• If you wish to cut down the amount you’re drinking, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.

What is a unit?

Knowing how many units a drink contains can help you keep track of your intake. 

•    A pint of higher strength beer (ABV 5.2%) is 3 units.

•    A standard glass of wine (175ml, ABV 12%) is 2.1 units.

•    A single shot of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%) is 1 unit.

You can find more information on alcohol units by visiting

Tips to cut down

There are many ways to cut down your alcohol intake. The NHS recommends: 

•    Having more alcohol free days in the week
•    Setting a limit on days when alcohol is consumed
•    Deciding to spend only a certain amount of money on drinks and sticking to this
•    Having a low sugar soft drink or water between alcoholic drinks, trying low-alcohol or non-alcohol alternatives
•    Having smaller measures – for example choosing a small wine instead of a large one
•    Getting moral support from friends and family.

Public Health England’s One You website advises you to seek medical advice before you stop drinking if you have physical withdrawal symptoms (like shaking, sweating or feeling anxious until you have your first drink of the day). It can be dangerous to stop drinking too quickly without proper support.


If you’re struggling to control your drinking, you may find it helpful to talk to your GP or local community pharmacy. 

You can access more information by visiting Public Health England’s One You website.

There are also lots of local services that can help you cut down. 

North Yorkshire Horizons is a drug and alcohol recovery service provided, on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council. They offer access to experienced and professional teams who provide brief interventions and structured treatments. 

Changing Lives offers dedicated drug and alcohol services across the North East and Yorkshire, with tailored support to help people challenge their alcohol dependency. 

Wakefield Wellbeing Cloud is a service operating from hubs in Wakefield, Castleford and satellite sites across the district. They work with over 4000 service users including brief interventions and structured treatment.

Calderdale Drug and Alcohol Service (Halifax) offers specialist advice, treatment and recovery support to any adults experiencing problems with drug and alcohol misuse.

St Anne’s Community Services in Leeds provides residential alcohol detoxification for adults who are dependent on alcohol.

Forward Leeds provides alcohol and drugs recovery support for adults, young people and families and has a dedicated support line.

Sheffield Alcohol and Support Service aims to enable people to change their lives through a range of specialist alcohol, drug and family services.

Aspire Drug and Alcohol Services is a partnership organisation set up by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) and registered charity The Alcohol & Drug Service (ADS).

ADS is a charity that provides services and support for alcohol and drug users in the Hull, East Riding and Doncaster areas. 

York Drug and Alcohol Service offers a specialist advice service to individuals, young people, families and local communities affected by their own or someone else's substance misuse.

Substance Misuse Service offers assessment, support and interventions to those experiencing problems with alcohol in teh Sheffield area with aim to either reduce alcohol intake or to become abstinent.

If you run an alcohol support service that’s not listed here, please get in touch by emailing

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